16
BEVERAGE MEDIA
April 2013
THE BEVERAGE NETWORK:
How often do you change the wines
by the glass?
LEE SPIRES:
Seasonally. We go heavy
on reds in the winter and do a lot of white
and rosé for the summer, since we have
a large deck.
TBN:
What is favorite current pairing
from your menu and list?
LS:
Our 18 oz. frenched rib steak and
8 oz. Maine lobster tail with a bottle of
Figgins red blend.
TBN:
Do you do special wine promotions?
LS:
We do all-day happy hour on Sunday
and Mondays, and from 4-6pm the rest
of the week, featuring select red and
white wines.
TBN:
What software system do you
use to manage your list/inventory?
LS:
Currently we use Excel, but we are
moving to use BinWise. When I tested the
BinWise method, I could see it will make
things so much easier.
TBN:
How many distributors do you
do business with?
LS:
Mainly five vendors, but there are
19 that I use to fill out my list. Also being
about 20 miles away from wine country
(Woodinville), I am able to buy from the
wineries directly.
TBN:
How do you place orders?
LS:
I order wines on Mondays and Thurs-
day. I generally text my orders in to my
distributors. Some email, but rarely.
TBN:
How has the new distribution
system in Washington affected you?
LS:
The new distribution system has not
affected any of my wine orders or routines.
TBN:
Do you have a strategy for dis-
playing wines at the restaurant?
LS:
We display wines on a wine table as
people walk in to be seated.
TBN:
Your list has a very evident
connection to Washington wineries;
has it always been that way?
LS:
We like the focus of our list to be
about the Northwest wines. There are a
lot of good Pinot Noirs from Oregon.
TBN:
What recent trends you have
noticed in wine in general, and in your
restaurant in particular?
LS:
Syrah, Shiraz and Merlot sales have
fallen. I also feel that a lot of people are
more aware of how great the quality of
Washington wines are becoming, and my
sales are showing it.
TBN:
How does management measure
the success of your wine program?
LS:
Year over year sales, for sure. And
keeping on-hand inventory low.
TBN:
What words-of-wisdom do you find
yourself frequently telling your staff?
LS:
Taste yourself—don’t let me tell you
what you should drink. Be curious.
TBN:
What other wine programs do
you admire?
LS:
I look for inspiration at RN74 in San
Francisco; and at Purple and Canlis here
in Seattle.
Coastal Inspiration
Lee Spires,
AQUA by El Gaucho,
Seattle, WA
BY W. R. TISH
SOMM
SEZ
S
ituated at the tip of Seattle’s Pier 70, with Elliott Bay, Magnolia Bluff and
the Space Needle highlighting panoramic views, AQUA by El Gaucho
seems poised for dining drama. Fortunately, the food, wine and service
are up to the challenge, and with frequent winemaker dinners, the restaurant
has made itself a true destination for wine lovers.
Cuisine:
American Seafood
Selections on wine list:
190
Bottles in inventory:
2,436
Price range of list:
$40-$1,300
Average bottle price:
$100
Sweet spot on list:
$90-$110
Wine list strengths:
Deep in Washington
wines, but selections from all over the world
Wines by the glass:
33, about half red,
half white and bubbly; the reds and whites
are available in both 6 and 9 oz. pours
Price range by the glass:
$10-$32
Stemware:
Stolzle Lausitz
Preservation system:
Vacuum pumps
CORKBOARD
AQUA BY EL GAUCHO
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